Dr Louis Klee, Trinity Hall




Biographical Information

I am a fellow and assistant professor at Trinity Hall. I was born and educated in Australia. My first degree was a Bachelor of Philosophy in philosophy at the Australian National University. I did an MPhil and a PhD at Cambridge, followed by a Junior Research Fellowship in English and Philosophy at Clare College. I have held a JUNCTURE Fellowship at the Sydney Review of Books, 'a fellowship program presenting a series of new essays [...] by leading critics'. In 2023, I was a visiting fellowship at the Australian National University, where I was writer-in-residence at the Centre for Australian Literary Cultures.

Research Interests

I work on topics in literature and philosophy, focusing on modern and contemporary literature, theories of the novel, Walter Benjamin, critical theory, aesthetics, and continental philosophy. I am also an expert in Australian literature and intellectual history. 

My first book, The Constellational Novel (Oxford University Press, to be published in their 'Approaches to the Novel' series), explores associative and essayistic prose fiction, and offers a Benjaminian theory of 'constellational' form. It begins with Marcel Proust and focuses on a number of novels written over the last three decades by Jacqueline Rose, W. G. Sebald, Teju Cole, Lisa Robertson, and Olga Tokarczuk. My next book project is called Writing and Iconoclasm (in progress; a section of this project is published here). It posits iconoclasm as the fulcrum between visual culture and the written word. 

My other research interests include literary theory, literary modernism, psychoanalysis, autofiction and the essay form, political philosophy, the history of European philosophy, poetry and poetics, ethics and moral philosophy, and discussions of exile and diaspora. I have a broad interest in philosophical discussions of affinity, likeness, resemblance, associationism, analogism, similarity, and 'what is it like' statements - the subject of a future project titled Sketch for a Theory of Affinity (after Sartre's Esquisse d'une théorie des émotions). 

I am on the steering committee of the Judith E Wilson Centre for Poetics. I have been a co-convenor of the Theory, Criticism, and Culture seminar for a number of years. I am also an affiliated researcher with the Walter Benjamin Research Collective and Le Pôle Proust

Areas of Graduate Supervision

Any graduate student who shares my research interests is welcome to get in touch. 

Selected Publications

I have published articles in journals such as Textual PracticeRepresentations, New German Critique, and Kierkegaard Studies. My most recently published essay is 'Australian Poets in the Countries of Others'. 

I co-edited (with Nicholas Birns) The Cambridge Companion to the Australian Novel. With Anya Topolski, I co-edited a special issue of The European Legacy dedicated to the political and ethical thought of Judith Butler. The issue included an afterword by Butler.

I have written criticism for the TLS and contributed to the Sydney Review of Books. My recent essays have focused on subjects such as poetry and labour, Australian historiography (anthologised here), and the unlikely story of Alain Badiou's reception in Australia (co-written with Christian Gelder). My poetry has been published in the TLS, Meanjin, PN Review, and other places, and anthologised in the Best Australian Poems and Best of Australian Poems series. I was co-winner of the Peter Porter Prize in 2017 for my poem 'Sentence to Lilacs'.

(Author photo by Sophie Davidson)